Not Today

The morning sun shone on the scuffed and dented helmet as my squire handed it up to me. I admired the fresh orange plume before putting the helmet on. My mount moved beneath me, anxiously feeling the anticipation in the air. I trotted him forward, and the other nobles saw my lead and moved into position. I looked over the line of knights and pride swelled my chest. Ahead of us, the rabble of the enemy army started to advance. Some day, common men like that would replace nobles like us. But not today.

The thunder of our horses’ hooves was the same as ever. My arms felt strong as my heart pounded rushing blood through my veins. When I finally spied the famous enemy captain, he was bearing down on me. I laughed wildly as I turned my horse and signaled my knights to follow. He stood bravely against me, but my lance was true, and I slammed him into the mud.

We spoke only briefly. As I rode away, he called after me to finish it. I half-turned in my saddle, and I don’t know if he heard my reply: “Not today.”

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